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Dimensions:
216 × 138 × 15 mm
200 pages
Format:
Paperback
ISBN:
9781861892140
Published:
01 Jan 2005
  • £14.95

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The Weather in the Imagination Lucian Boia

The weather has always been a traditional topic of conversation; it is probably the most common dialogue between human beings. But even at this everyday level, there are indications that it is regarded with unease. Yet our apparent dread of the weather is puzzling, as we generally adapt to it remarkably well.

The Weather in the Imagination analyses the theories and scenarios caused by climate. These fall into three main categories: anthropological and psychological; historical; catastrophic. The weather has long served as a means of explaining human diversity: other people are different because they live under different skies. Climate has also been used to explain the dynamic of the historical process, the rise of certain civilizations and the stagnation or regression of others. Catastrophe is also invoked in theories of the weather: what could destroy a civilization - or arouse the fear of humanity's total extinction - more effectively than a good climatic ‘jolt’? The prototype of this kind of upheaval is the Flood, one of the most gripping and influential myths the human imagination has ever produced.

Lucian Boia does not take sides in the current debates about climate; he does not exaggerate or play down global warming and its consequences, or try to forecast the future. What he does tell is a story that runs parallel with the ‘true’ story of climate and its future: the story of a human imagination that has been stimulated, baffled, infuriated, and sometimes even terrified, by the weather.

‘Today its not just the British who are obsessed by the weather, but the whole world. Lucian Boias timely book places current concerns about climate change into context and shows that people have been anxiously studying the sky for portents of doom since the beginning of history . . . His cultural history of climate is dry in places, but has plenty of illuminating interludes.’ — The Guardian

‘[Boia] reflects on the psychological and physical impact weather has had on history in the myths and memories of civilisations - typified by the great flood - or in shaping them. In doing so, he brings breadth and clarity to a much overlooked but historically profound subject.’ — The Herald, Glasgow


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Lucian Boia is Professor of History at the University of Bucharest. He is the author of Great Historians of the Modern Age (1991), La Fin du Monde: une Histoire sans Fin (1999), Romania: Borderland of Europe (Reaktion, 2001) and Forever Young: A Cultural History of Longevity (Reaktion, 2004).

Introduction
1. Climate and People
2. The Climate of the Philosophers: The Eighteenth Century
3. The North at the Zenith
4. The Changing Climate: The Twentieth Century
5. The Logic of the Flood
6. The Global Warming Dossier
By Way of a Conclusion
References
Index